Everybody learns about defensive driving when they’re first getting their drivers’ license. But how much do you actually remember about it? Defensive driving is the basis of safe travel so it’s important to refresh your understanding of it every now and then. The key techniques are to stay alert on the road and stay focused. It’s also important to follow safe driving protocols like proper stopping distance and speed of travel. Hopefully, by brushing up on defensive driving techniques, you’ll be able to travel more safely to your destination.

Back to Basics: Defensive Driving Techniques for Safe Travel

What is Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving skills are skills that utilize a number of factors to help you react in predictable situations in the safest way possible to avoid collisions. It’s all about identifying hazards and potential hazards, and knowing how to react to them. This means reacting to other drivers on the road and the situations that they create too, not just your own driving. It’s a way to reach your destination quickly and safely.

Stay Alert

The most important factor with defensive driving is to stay alert. This means being aware of your own surroundings but also the other drivers on the road. Part of defensive driving is trying to assume that other drivers might act in unpredictable ways, and knowing how to avoid collisions. For example, one important skill is to always be aware of your escape route in case your lane gets suddenly blocked. If a car in front of your slams on breaks, you’ll know which lane you have an opening to move over to at all times. Staying alert on the road will help you avoid collisions.

Stay Focused

Another important factor for good defensive driving is to stay focused. Driving is a task that requires constant thinking. You need to be aware of your speed, the directions to your destination, your position on the road, other cars around you, etc. If you lose concentration, you could get into a crash in a split second. The easiest way to lose focus is if you have distractions in your car. For example, your cell phone. Never text while driving, and pay close attention to the road if you’re talking on the phone while you travel. Try to ignore other distractions as much as possible, like loud noises or sites along the road.

Travel Safely

One final tip for utilizing defensive driving techniques is to always follow safety protocols. One example of this is safe following distance. Most collisions happen when you run into the car in front of you. So if you keep 3-4 seconds of travel time between you and the car ahead of you, it’ll give you time to react if they stop suddenly. Be aware that the faster you’re traveling, the more distance you need to keep. This also means following all posted signs on the road, like speed limits, and doing routine vehicle maintenance.

Defensive driving might be a term that you haven’t thought about in a long time, but hopefully, you’ve still been using the skills you learned way back when learning to drive in school. Defensive driving is all about anticipating what other drivers might do, and knowing how to react in different situations. Remember to stay alert and focused on the road. Also, always follow the rules of the road like the speed limit and keep a safe distance. Hopefully, by really focusing on these techniques, you’ll avoid collisions on the road and reach your destination safely.